30 October 2013

Writer on Wheels, Video Blog #1: Happy Halloween!

On one of the last nice days of the year before winter closes in, I take a ride out to an historic cemetery along the Maumee River in northwest Ohio. It's one of the oldest cemeteries in Ohio, and veterans of every war in U.S. history are buried there - all the way back to the Revolutionary War.

It's my first attempt at vlogging, so your patience is much appreciated! I have a wee bit to learn. :)

Three spooky videos for Halloween!

I remember when these first aired. This was such a great series!

Pop some popcorn, turn out all the lights, and enjoy!

Happy Halloween!


28 August 2013

30 Things About My Invisible Illness You May Not Know

A round-robin meme as part of National Invisible Illness Awareness Week!

Warning - Deep thoughts, humor, and brutal honesty ahead.

1. The illness I live with is: Rheumatoid Arthritis

2. I was diagnosed with it in the year: 1964

3. But I had symptoms since: 1964

4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: That no matter how hard one fights this disease, one is in an almost constant state of loss - loss of joint function, loss of mobility, loss of overall health. The meds don't always work like you see on TV - in reality, no two patients are alike and it may take years to find an effective treatment, if at all. Surgery and medications can help you regain some of those losses, but overall the loss is greater than the gain.

5. Most people assume: I'm simply lazy.

6. The hardest part about mornings are: Getting to the bathroom on stiff joints "in time."

7. My favorite medical TV show is: House

8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is:  My electric wine bottle opener!

9. The hardest part about nights are: Getting comfortable enough to fall and stay asleep.

10. Each day I take _15_ pills & vitamins (and 3 injections a week).

11. Regarding alternative treatments I:  Am a Reiki master/teacher. I think it has helped me heal much of the mental, emotional, and spiritual scars RA inflicts. On the physical level, I think it has helped me do better on fewer medications.

12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: Visible. It's easier for people to understand. Sometimes I wonder if it would be better to have a limb missing.

13. Regarding working and career: I tried to have a career, but had to choose between full time work and raising my kids. We've also moved a lot due to my husband's career, which made it harder to build one of my own. Now I work from home as a contract writer. I gave up commuting to jobs years ago - it's too physically draining. If I can't do it from home, I turn the contract down.

14. People would be surprised to know: Having a chronic disease can be lonely. Once you become chronically ill you learn who your real friends are. Everyone is sympathetic at first, but eventually most get tired of you being sick all the time, and fall away. Another aspect that isn't talked about is the depression that comes with chronic illness, and the toll it takes on marriages. Autoimmune illness affects primarily women, and sometimes their husbands decide "I didn't sign up for this" and seek divorce. More often, the strain of having a wife that can't be fixed (when men are hard wired to "fix"), takes a huge toll.

15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been: My reality is "old", but I'm continually amazed at how many people still don't "get it", or even want to try. They'd rather make wrong assumptions than learn anything.

16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was:  Ride a motorcycle.

17. The commercials about my illness:  DO NOT GET ME STARTED.

18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: It sounds silly, but one of the few things I remember from before my diagnosis is being able to sit on my heels, and sit "Indian style" on the floor. I wish I could still do that.

19. It was really hard to have to give up: I don't remember what it's like not to have to deal with this illness, so I guess it was the idea that I would NEVER have anything close to a normal life.

20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is: Motorcycling.

21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: Put on a backpack and hike for miles and miles with my husband and feel like I'm holding him back.

22. My illness has taught me: Letting go of what I can't control. Worry and stress make it so much worse.

23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is: "Why do you take all those toxic medicines? You'd feel better if you'd just (insert 'exercise', 'get out more', or some bogus 'miracle' supplement here)."  Or, "What about that drug I heard about on TV? It shows people taking one pill and dancing all night."

24. But I love it when people: At least make an effort to understand.

25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is: "Rule 1: Don't sweat the small stuff. Rule 2: 99 percent of it IS small stuff."

26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them: Life as you know it may be over, but that doesn't mean the life ahead of you can't be just as fulfilling. It won't be what you planned, but it can be great if you let it.

27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: RA and its autoimmune cousins tend to run in packs. If you have one, you  probably have two or three. I've also learned who my real friends are.

28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was:  Make me laugh.

29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because:  I want others like me to know they're not alone.

30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel:  hopeful that I've opened someone's eyes to the reality of living with chronic illness.

Carolan Ivey

05 February 2012

Scotti sh W eb Ca ms!

Thanks to Scottie at RampantScotland.com for this comprehensive list of Scotland web cams! Enjoy!

Aberdeen City Council have not been mean with their budget and have set up three webcams - looking over the harbour, Castlegate and Union Street.
Aberdeen Harbour
Pan, tilt, zoom and scan the webcam as you watch the ships entering and leaving the busy Aberdeen harbour.
Aberdeenshire Webcams
Aberdeenshire Council operate a number of Internet Webcams in towns across their area, including:

The Visit Angus Web site hosts web-cameras with viewing controls allowing users to zoom in on landscape features, wildlife and fauna.

  • Glen Clova with views of the scenery from a hillside farm close to the Glen Clova Hotel.
  • Carnoustie from the clock tower of the Carnoustie Golf Hotel over the first tee of the Championship Course.
  • Montrose Basin from the front gallery area of the Scottish Wildlife Trust Montrose Basin Wildlife Centre with superb views across this tidal basin.
Ardgrain, Ellon, Aberdeenshire
Webcam broadcast from the historic Grade A listed Scottish barony of Ardgrain, which dates from 1629. The webcam has views of the rolling countryside looking towards the market town of Ellon, Aberdeenshire. Part of a website packed full of local pictures and the detailed history of the baronial site of Ardgrain through the ages.
Arran - Brodick
Live webcam overlooks the beautiful bay in Brodick.
BBC Travel Webcams
Reports of traffic delays and congestion across the country as well as webcam views of major traffic flows. See also TrafficScotland
Ben Nevis
A Fort William tourist site brings you views of Scotland's (and the UK's) highest mountain. When it's dark in Scotland, there is a collection of Ben Nevis and Nevis Range images to look at instead.
Bowmore Distillery, Islay
Change the view and see the lochs outside the distillery.
Bruichladdich Distillery
The "world's first non-stop whisky show" has an increasing number of cameras updating the view every second. These webcams leapt to fame when the US-based Defence Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) were reported to have been monitoring the whisky distillery, using the close-up webcams. The agency claimed that it only took a "tweak" to allow the malt whisky production to change to churning out chemical weapons.....
Weather data and webcam views for hill walkers - and armchair viewers. Picture updated every ten minutes. Includes views of the White Lady, view from Loch Morlich and view from Summit of Main Basin T-bar.
Campbelltown, Argyll
Control the views - Westport Beach, the reef or the islands of Islay and Jura.
Camvista - Scotland
The Scotland index of a larger site covers a number of locations across the country (some of which are not operated by Camvista) including:

Dundee City Council give you control of the Webcam for two minutes (though you may have to wait a while if there's a queue ahead of you!
The bonnie city of Dundee from Law Hill. You can control the view from side to side and zoom in and out. Trust the "City of Discovery" to come up with a cool view!
The webcam from Argyll and Bute Council overlooks the harbour - impressive no matter the weather!

  • Princes Street

  • Edinburgh City Centre

  • Edinburgh Castle

  • Edinburgh - Various camera views

  • Fair Isle
    Two webcams from one of Scotland's most remote islands (though there is an air service). Fife Panoramas
    From a guide to Fife, these are not Webcams but 360 degree Java panoramas of a number of locations in Fife including:

    The webcam is looking towards the coastal village of Gardenstown on the North-East coast of Aberdeenshire and the site also has a page on the Gardenstown Weather Station, provide constantly updated weather information. There is also local information about local tourist attractions such as Church of St John the Evangelist, which was built in 1513 and celebrates the defeat of the Danes at this site in 1004.
    Gatehouse of Fleet, Dumfries & Galloway
    A view of the Main Street in Gatehouse of Fleet looking toward the clock tower, with Cardoness Castle and the sea in the background.
    Glasgow- George Square
    View the changing face of Glasgow's main square which hosts many different events during the year.
    And here are views of Glasgow from Camvista:
    The view from the King's House Hotel looking down the glen, updated every two hours.
    Gleneagles Golf Course
    The first tee at the PGA Centenary Course, Gleneagles Hotel, Auchterarder.
    Greenock, Inverclyde
    Looking across the river Clyde.
    Gretna Green Anvil Hall Wedding Venue
    See the wedding ceremonies in this famous location.
    Kyle of Lochalsh
    Looking over to Skye and the Skye road bridge.
    Lewis - Eoropaidh Tea Room
    In the extreme north of the Isle of Lewis
    Linlithgow Town Centre and Union Canal
    See the traffic flow in Linlithgow town centre or the slower pace of Linlithgow canal centre, the Union Canal and the narrow boats moored there.
    Loch Lomond
    Change the views to see different aspects including the loch, Loch Lomond Shores visitor centre and the Maid of the Loch paddle steamer.
    Loch Ness
    So that you can keep watch for Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster - both above and under water.
    Mull of Galloway and North Ronaldsay North Ronaldsay
    The Northern Lighthouse Board, Lighthouse Library has set up Webcams on the lighthouse on the Mull of Galloway and the island of North Ronaldsay North Ronaldsay.
    New Deer, Aberdeenshire
    Looking from just outside the ancient town of New Deer in Aberdeenshire, towards the mountain of Bennachie, the best known and most climbed hill range in North East Scotland.
    North-west Scotland and Skye
    There are links to a series of Webcams near Armadale at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig College (part of the University of the Highlands and Islands) looking from the college across the Sound of Sleet to the fishing and ferry port of Mallaig. If you look out at the right time you might just catch sight the CalMac ferry leaving Mallaig for Armadale or the Small Isles of Rùm, Eigg, Muck and Canna. Another webcam looks north east from the college across the Sound of Sleat to "Britain's last wilderness", the Knoydart peninsula. Further webcams include one located behind Bernera Farmhouse looking west across the meadow to the Kyle Rhea narrows and Ben Aslak; then there is a webcam at Bernera Farm, north of Glenelg, looking north east down Glen Bernera towards Glas Bheinn. Don't forget to click on the webcam image to view a dedicated archive page that includes a captioned view of the most prominent features on each webcam plus thirty days of images and time-lapse sequences. Other webcams of Skye from the same site, include:
    Three cameras providing two views of the town from different points plus inside the tourist information centre - wave to your friends who wish they were there too!
    Ochil Hills
    View of the Ochils from Clackmannan Community Web site.
    A view of Stromness Harbour, updated every hour.
    Orkney - St Magnus Cathedral
    View of St Magnus Cathedral taken from the office of a local chartered accountant.
    The site has been listed in the top 25 views by the webcam portal site EarthCam - rubbing shoulders with views of Brooklyn Bridge, Tokyo and Nasa astronauts in space. A plus is the quality of the sound being broadcast - the site comments "if you listen, you will hear the odd reveller go home after a wee drink or two after the local pubs and bars close."
    Click on the Webcam link on this official Shetland tourism site and get a series of Webcam views around the islands, including:
    Traffic Scotland
    CCTV views of traffic on most of the main trunk roads across Scotland. Long list gives access to pop-up view of all the locations (if the cameras are working!) Note that there is a Smartphone app for this site - search for "Traffic Scotland" in your apps market place.

  • 29 October 2011


    Last night, the zombies took over Adams Street in downtown Toledo! My husband and I donned our biker gear and went out in search of a few brains to munch on at the second annual Zombie Crawl. This is probably the one time that turning off the red-eye reduction on the camera is actually a good thing. :)

    This was one night we elected not to ride the Harley. Are you kidding me? With all those blood-hungry monsters roaming the alleys? [shudder]

    Happy Halloween, everyone!

    Carolan Ivey

    25 October 2011

    Early Celtic "Stonehenge" Found in Germany

    Early Celtic Moon-based Calendar "Stonehenge" Found in Germany

    Just in time for the Celtic new year!

    From Science Daily:
    A huge early Celtic calendar construction has been discovered in the royal tomb of Magdalenenberg, nearby Villingen-Schwenningen in Germany's Black Forest. This discovery was made by researchers at the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum at Mainz in Germany when they evaluated old excavation plans. The order of the burials around the central royal tomb fits exactly with the sky constellations of the Northern hemisphere. Read more

    11 October 2011

    Highway to Hell (Mich.), Oct. 2011

    Last weekend my husband and I explored south central Michigan's rolling hills and gem-like lakes to see the fall colors. Armed with a handful of printed off maps (oh yeah, I can hear you snickering already), off we went on our Harley beastie (I'm not riding solo that far or fast yet!). Within an hour the wind took a couple of the maps, so thus began our navigation by "iron booger." (Fans of Home Improvement will get that reference!)

    Here are a few pictures from the weekend. Most of them were taken while the bike was in motion, so I apologize in advance for the tilted view. :)

    Huron River below Barton Pond dam.

    My hubby and the Beastie at Sandhill Crane Winery. Don't worry, I did most of the tasting, since I wasn't driving!

    Most of these photos are from the Waterloo recreation area.

    Lotsa bikes at the Dam Site Inn, Hell, Michigan.

    Barton Pond

    I'm not sure WHAT this is...!

    Welcome sign over the bar at the Dam Site Inn.

    Proof that Hell, MI is a real place!

    Ticket to ride!

    About this time last year, I posted a blog about my spectacular failure to pass the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's (MSF) basic rider course in a quest to get my license. I can look back on it now and laugh, especially since now, one year later, I have...(drum roll)...passed the course and earned my M!

    Yep, instead of a generic picture of a girl on a motorcycle, today's picture is me on my second day riding my new scooter, which I've dubbed "Puck." In faerie lore, the pooka or phukka are a funloving folk, full of mischief and lively humor. But treated with disrespect or ignored, they can turn on you and make life miserable! That's sort of how I approach riding - have fun, but don't push my luck.

    Puck is a 2011 Meiduo 150cc scooter, delightfully easy to ride and with enough zip to be safe on the townships 50-mph roads. The previous owner added a water bottle holder and a strip of bright blue LED lights on the underside, right before he decided he wanted a machine with a bigger engine.

    My instructor, the proprietor of a local scooter shop, went above and beyond to help me get over my jitters. When I showed up for the schedule class in August, it turned out all the scooters he'd brought with him were too tall for me - I couldn't reach the ground with my toes, much less flatfoot it. So once again I had to bow out of the course before I'd barely gotten started. Tom promised me he'd meet with me one on one with a smaller scooter the following week. Then his lovely wife Katy broke her foot, so we had to put it off yet another few weeks.

    Just when it looked liked I'd either be riding in the snow or putting it off another year, Tom called with the news that Katy was cleared to put weight on the foot.

    A few days later I walked nervously onto the far corner of long-term parking at the local airport. Tom put me on a bright yellow former rental scooter that I promptly named Tweetie Bird. After learning the basics on Tweetie, Tom put me on a bigger scooter to see how I fared in the sharp turns. Suffice to say the bug population of the Lucas County airport parking lot was cut roughly in half as I raced around the turns with a huge grin on my face. :)

    Two days later I'd mastered the dreaded Box (tight figure 8), cornering, weaving and emergency stopping. My only point off was not coming out of the corner fast enough.

    Hmm, riding faster...better go work on that. See ya later! Now where's my helmet...

    03 September 2011

    CONTEST on my BtV blog post today!

    Come on over and chat about your guilty media pleasures. :) Leave a comment to get in a drawing for a bag of Authors After Dark con swag and books. Click here!

    26 August 2011

    Summer Ghost Hunting

    Read about the ghost walks and hunts I've done this summer over on the Samhain Publishing blog, and see my orb photos! :)

    Read it here!